Posted by Ancestry Team on October 30, 2008 in Site Features, Website

We’re excited to introduce a new tool which will help you find information from across the web and organize it back inside your family tree on Ancestry.

What is it?
It’s called the “Ancestry Toolbar”.  It’s a toolbar you can install and add to your browser (If you use IE or Firefox), adding an instant connection to Ancestry and your family tree from where ever you wander in the great wide web.

Here’s a picture:Ancestry Toolbar

What does it do?
Primarily the Ancestry Toolbar lets you save photos and stories you find on the web to a person in your tree.  It creates a link pointing back to the website you found the image, which acts as a sort of source citation for the photo or story.

Here’s a quick recap of the features of the toolbar:

•    Save Photos and Stories and attach them to people in your family tree
•    Save links to web pages to people in your family tree
•    Access your Ancestry Quick Links
•    Quickly access your family tree(s)
•    Google Search tool (for both Ancestry and the web)

How does it work?
Well, lets suppose you’re out on the web looking for something about Franklin Van Valkenburgh.  You may find a page with some photos you’d like to add to your tree, or a story.

searching for franklin van valkenburgh.

Just click the “Save…” button on the Ancestry Toolbar to launch the toolbar’s features.


Then choose to quickly save a link to the page, or instead to select photos or text to save.


If you choose to save pictures and text, the toolbar will let you click on the pictures or text items to select which ones you want added to your tree.  Now, remember: only items in the public domain should be selected–you’ve got to be judicious about what you save, just like you would be about what you upload.  Fortunately there is a wealth of information in the public domain that you can save and attach to your tree.


After selecting the items you like, click on the orange “Save selected items” button (top right) and the toolbar will guide you through choosing which person to attach the items to.

A link is preserved
For the photos, stories, and web pages you save to your tree, a link back to the original is always preserved–so you and others can always click through to see the item in its original context.

Ready to try it?
Download the toolbar now and check it out!

Comments or Feedback?
We’d love to have your comments on this blog, or also please feel free to email me directly (kfreestone at


  1. Valerie

    Once again, you’re ignoring your Mac users. And I’ve yet to see a response on the issue. So can you tell me: why aren’t any of your new programs made for mac users? Do you have any plans to include mac users in anything in the future or should I just cancel my subscription now?

  2. I just downloaded and will give it a try. It would be nice if you could import the saved items into your FTM file as well. That is one disadvantage to FTM/Ancestry, the trees do not merge the changes automatically.

  3. Marty

    How do you log in? When I select on My Trees, a drop box says ‘Sign in to view your trees’. When I select that, nothing happens. I’ve also now have a very noticeable slowdown in IE loading pages since I installed this program.

  4. iMac USER, still having problems with merging individuals from one tree to another. I had started using Blote as master file and broke up Paternal and Maternal trees. Trying to merge people from masterfile to appropriate tree without success. It worked sometimes, now not at all. Addressed cache issue still no change. The four trees show and are highlighted as I scroll down but nothing happens when I click or double-click, nothing. HELP. Beth Blote aka: gowinifred

  5. Jenny Grainger

    Is this also causing sign-in problems ? Keep receiving a “No matching user name and password was found. Please check the user name and password and try again” message, and even trying to re-send password returns “Internal error logged, Please try again”.
    C’mon, Ancestry !!

  6. Linda Boorom

    I can’t log into ancestry either & even though a subscriber for many years with the same e-mail address, I now get the message that my email address was not found.

    In trying to determine if there was a “problem” at, I attempted to access the Message boards from both ancestry & rootsweb this morning and get the message “Service Unavailable”.

    What’s up?

  7. Liz

    ditto what the last two people said. What’s up?
    Please put a message up on the blog re site status. thanks!

  8. Rebekha

    The toolbar was working great for me last night but this morning it is causing problems with internet explorer. In a few of instances reports were automatically being generated and sent to microsoft. I have now disabled the add on. Hopefully internet explorer will start working correctly for me again and microsoft will pass the information on to you.

    Hope it works out, this is a great application!

  9. Ray Stokely

    I agree with Kevin Lett, I would like to be able to merge/sync my on line Ancestry Tree with my FTM Tree.

  10. How do I find the tree I started,where we add pictures,and stories etc.? Nancy
    G Burgon.I have the one where it is just pedigrees. Do I need to change to another program? Nancyb

  11. Susan Poston

    Do you know how much more useful the new things you are doing for us would be, if we could merge the changes into our Family Tree Maker???

  12. Bill

    Wonderful! Another Windows only product.

    Doesn’t anyone think about the people that use a Mac. I’m not even asking about support for Safari, I’d settle for Firefox support.

  13. Pauline Mitchell

    Having just read the Reader Comments I think I will just avoid trying out the new tool bar.

    I wish the old things that still give problems would be fixed before any more new ones arrive on the scene. I still get the wrong tree when trying to attach records.

    Patience is not one of my virtues.

  14. JP

    I am so glad ancestry is spending its time making new search engines that don’t even work better than the older ones and now this new “Ancestry Toolbar”.

    Has it gone out of being a genealogy resource business?

    You’ve never fixed the the broken databases and portions of databases that weren’t fixed.

    Nothing much new has been added.

    I’ve only seen advertising for trees.
    “Just click on the grean leaf” and magic – you find you whole family history!

    What happened to that promise ancestry made years ago to NEVER sell user contributed information? I guess someone just made a mistake when they made that promise and it turned into a lie.

    It’s seems to be the only business you are in now.

    You are looking for volunteers to transcribe information and have some connection again with LDS it appears. Their trees at the new site are now private to LDS members, was this agreement between the two of you so you could make trees a paying operation?

    Also, the site is so darn slow. It takes from 20 seconds to well over a minute or minutes for a page to finish loading even though the results are sitting there. It makes it so you can’t stop the page from loading, or exit the page, and even makes the clipboard not available if you try and do something in another program while you wait for it to load. No, it’s not my computer. There are short periods of times when it works half way decently.

    What are the short term goals for ancestry? More toolbars, search engines, or some actual useful data and fixed databases?

  15. Keith D Anderson

    I downloaded toolbar yesterday, but when I try to enter also Google) from the desktop I get a message that IE has encountered a problem with Ancestry Toolbar.dll and has to close. I can still enter ancestry if I go to my favorites and try from there.

  16. Sue

    I like this idea, if it works. This past week I found one of my photos copied from my web site to someone else’s, renamed and uncredited. Linking to online sources via this toolbar sounds like intellectual property rights will be respected, a vital element of proper documentation, which I appreciate. I fear the ability to import items into FTM would trash those rights.

  17. Kenny Freestone

    Thanks for trying out the toolbar.

    In response to comments 5, 6, and 7 it looks like we’ve had some issue over the weekend where logging in has been troublesome in general (and unrelated to the toolbar install). If you are having troubles with this, please call our member services team at 1 800-ANCESTRY and ask for your password to be reset.

    If this is not the trouble, please email me and we’ll find a fix.

    In response to comments 1, 4, and 12–my fellow mac users, I sympathize with you, and apologize that we were unable to support the Mac officially on this project. That said, it does work OK on the mac in Firefox, but we don’t officially support it. I’ve got it running on my powerbook and it seems to be fine. For another person here in our office it ran fine, but later seemed to slow his browser down until he uninstalled it. If you do try it out, let me know how it works.

    In response to comment 6–I noticed the same thing on the message boards Friday morning, but it start working find for me a few minutes later.

    In response to comment 15–Kevin we would love to look into this if it is still an issue for you–please send me an email and we’ll look into it.

    kfreestone at

  18. Donna

    Hey, Kenny! I installed the Ancestry Toolbar, and immediately, my Internet Explorer quit working. I restarted my computer hoping that would fix it, but it didn’t. I had to “uninstall” the toolbar, and then Internet Explorer immediately started working.

  19. Jade

    I guess the toolbar would be useful if one could add actual images of documents, such as census enumeration pages, to one’s tree instead of the stupid and often very erroneous Ancestry transcripts of same. Or do you have to download the image to home cpu, then use the toolbar to upload to tree? Can the toolbar be used to upload images from home cpu to tree?

    Or does it only *link* to existing web sites? What happens to the image if the web site disappears or moves to a different URL?

  20. Cheryl

    I downloaded the new tool bar last night, it worked fine. Then this morning I couldn’t get IE to open properly. Had to Uninstall the tool bar. I really liked having this and would love to reinstall it Please fix it.

  21. Karl

    I like the concept, all though I wish it would search all the database records too (or am I just missing something).

    Also for what its worth it messes up my personalized google home page (it cuts off the left portion of the page). Once I uninstalled it my google personal home page works fine.

  22. Valerie


    Lately, all of your new projects are not available to mac users. Can you PLEASE tell me: do you plan to expand to mac users or not? Once, again, you aren’t really responding on the *why*

  23. Betty

    I also downloaded your new toolbar but had to remove it as I couldn’t open any of my shortcuts on the desktop without coming up with an error message and would have to shut down. Great if it worked, but many times I go straight to my business icons before opening IE.

  24. silvia haenchen

    I was a subscriber to ancestry and bought the cd which entittles me to 3 mouths free. I am not happy because it does not work the same as your site. Not good.

  25. O.K., I never thought at my age I’d use a phrase from today’s generation…..but……the toolbar “ROCKS”! Man oh man, whoever come up with this feature deserves a trip to Hawaii, a bonus and a raise!! Life just became a little bit easier!

  26. Ron

    Installed the toolbar ….not sure if this is the problem, but since installation of the toolbar I have had a problem with Internet Explorer crashing. It always seems to be happening when doing some type of activity accessed via the Ancestry toolbar. Love the “save” feature and look forward to additional features being added …have added text and pictures from sites on the web to my online family trees. I am running Windows XP.

  27. Lonnye

    Like Valerie, I’m a mac user but have not tried to merge my Ancestry tree and info into my own program. I dread trying to merge my tree into my own program.

    I would like to know if all the records that are on microfilm at the LDS center in Salt Lake City are available on the website?

  28. Jade

    Lonnye, re #29, “I would like to know if all the records that are on microfilm at the LDS center in Salt Lake City are available on the website?”

    Aside from US Census and Revolutionary War Continental troops rolls that are available free at major libraries, Ancestry in general does *not* have on its site what the LDS Library has, such as the State and County court, land, tax and estate records.

    Ancestry does have many out-of-copyright books on its site that also would be in the LDS Library, but that is a hit-or-miss coincidence.

  29. Terri

    I agree with Valerie that it seems nothing is up for Mac users. Do we need to find a website that will work with us. We pay a lot of money to be ignored. We want system enhancements as well!

  30. Lee

    Toolbar is a nice idea. However, when I click on My Trees and then, supposedly, my tree, I get an IE “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage”.

  31. Forrest P

    I have tried to install this toolbar onto my IE and the error 2738 keeps popping up and closing down the installation of this….can anyone suggest to me what to do. WHat is this error for?
    thanks way ahead of time.

  32. Kenny Freestone

    #18 – Donna, thanks for emailing your info! To let everyone else know, the toolbar is only supported on Internet Explorer for versions 6 and 7. Donna had IE 8 installed, which is why it would not work.

    #19 – Jade, the toolbar is not designed to be a workaround for attaching census pages to your tree, and in fact does not work on When an image is saved from another website it is copied (not linked)–so you’ll still have it if the other website disappears.

    #20 – Nancy, we’ll need some more details to answer your question. Feel free to call our member services (1 800 ANCESTRY) or send me an email (kfreestone at

    #21 – Cheryl, please send me an email with your browser version (for example, Internet Explorer version 7.05730.13), and also your computer Operating System (for example, Windows Vista Ultimate Service Pack 1). This will help us understand the issue.

    #22 – Karl, we apologize about that. We’ll have a look at how the toolbar interacts with the google home page.

    #23, 29, and 31 – Valerie, Lonnye, and Terri, we love our mac users. The “why” for each case is different, and complicated, and probably not something we’re willing to share. Rest assured there is no anti-mac conspiracy raging or even simmering here. These are practical business decisions, and we’re honestly trying to do our best for all customers. If you’re willing to try the toolbar on Firefox on your mac, you may be happy with it. I’m running it on my powerbook with good results.

    #24 – Betty, please send me an email with the same information asked about in my response to #21.

    #25 – Silvia, Sorry to hear it. Please call our member services–perhaps they can help you understand what the service can do for you (1 800 ANCESTRY).

    #26 & 27 – Imperialet, YOU rock! Thanks for the message. (Phew! somebody is liking this toolbar!)

    #28 – Ron please see my response to #21. If there is a particular site that seems the trigger the crash, that would also be helpful.

    #32 and 33 – Lee and Forrest, please see my response to #21.

    It is great to have your feedback, and to have this conversation. Please send details by email if you run into a problem. We can’t fix what we don’t see, and so far for us the toolbar is working very well. Give us more details and we’ll find the fix!

  33. Jill

    I too am a mac user who started doing my family tree in Family Tree Maker when it was a Broderbund product over 15 years ago. I was very frustrated when it was became PC only, and still am.

    I subscribe to Ancestry because of the access to records but also because it is platform independant, or was…..

    I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not appealing to the large (and every increasing) number of mac users.

    Please don’t tell me that after investing much time and resources in building my tree, adding numerous graphics and artilces to tell our family story that you are going to forget there is more than one platform out there.

    This all sounds way too familiar.

  34. i installed and it said was complete, only it’s not there. i, like many who are writing their family histories are OLD and not COMPUTER SAVY. so, where did it go?

  35. Marieelena

    WOW! I almost made the mistake of downloading the new toolbar. I am glad I read the comments first. I totally agree with Pauline & JP. Quit coming up with more frangles & dangles and fix the basics. I think it’s horrible the money we pay and you just keep inventing new toys and don’t fix the main problems.

  36. Joshua

    I am a Mac user. I installed this on Firefox. Whats weird is that the toolbar caused problems with Adobe Flash Player. Whenever I was on a video, whenever i opened another flash video in a new tab, the first video suddenly started at the beginning again. As soon as I uninstalled the toolbar, Adobe Flash Player went back to normal. This toolbar really has a lot of bugs.

  37. Valerie

    “The “why” for each case is different, and complicated, and probably not something we’re willing to share. Rest assured there is no anti-mac conspiracy raging or even simmering here. These are practical business decisions, and we’re honestly trying to do our best for all customers.”

    I don’t think that there’s a conspiracy – I just think you don’t care about us and you’re not hiding it.

    None of your responses have done anything to reassure me that you are working to do the best for *all* customers. It’s in your wording – “not willing to share.” Not that you *can’t* explain yourselves, but that you *won’t*.

    Ignoring your mac users will save you money in development costs and you just don’t get enough flack to make it worth your while. I can’t think any better of this company unless they are willing to give a valid explanation.

    And I’m not about to download an application to my computer that isn’t supported and might bug out other programs – aside from the basic fact that I don’t use firefox.

    Well, my subscription is up in February – I think I’ll take my $300 a year elsewhere unless you can learn to better respect your customers. (this decision also based on new search and a lack of new records in areas of personal interest)

  38. Sherman Shell

    I just loaded the toolbar onto my Mac, so far seems to be OK in Firefox 3 on OS 10.5 running on an Intel processor.

  39. Tina

    I am running Vista & IE 7.0.6001.18000 and the text copy adding as “Stories” works great, thanks! However, I am having problems when trying to 1) select text & photos at the same time and 2)attaching photos. IE crashes every time, I select both text and photos. When I try to attach photos by themselves, I go through the motions and get the OK message that it has been attached but it is not attached to the person nor is it in my Photos. What am I doing wrong?

  40. Donna

    I am Donna #18. Thanks to Kenny, I was contacted personally and they explained my problem was Internet Explorer 8 Beta. That makes sense!

    I wanted to say that I appreciate being contacted and the personal help I received!
    Thanks to Kenny and his crew!!!!

  41. Elizabeth Thomas

    I didn’t have a problem for a few days after downloading this toolbar, but now had to disable it in order to get into my IE. I don’t know much about the inner workings of computers and if I had not read about others having problems I would have thought there was something wrong with my computer. Don’t you test your ideas on real computers?

  42. Stanley Weidenhammer

    Would like to try the toolbar but until I see more comments on the toolbar working, it’s not worth it.

  43. Panabode

    Well, how cool! apologies for the ungrateful sods who jump on you for whatever reason.

    I love the idea of it, and love that it works in Firefox. Question: when I highlight what I want from a page and hit “save” the wizard never appears – just the “please wait.” are there known issues with the toolbar?

    Looking forward to getting this thing under control, it looks like it will be a great tool.

  44. Randy

    Hi there, I love the toolbar.
    However, my toolbar causes internet explorer v 7 to stop responding.

    I think I’ve diagnosed the conditions:
    – I have a laptop
    – Toolbar works fine on my home internet wireless connection
    – When I go to the office (with the sames laptop), internet explorer will not start at all (it hangs).
    – If I use Start, Accessories, System Tools, Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) and then uncheck the ancestry toolbar, then Internet Explorer functions fine in my work environment.

    Therefore, my guess is that something in the ancestry toolbar is not working with proxy settings / firewalls that are common in office environments.

    I’m guessing you guys can fix that.

    Let us know please, as the toolbar is great.

  45. Carol Johnson

    I have repeatedly downloaded/removed/downloaded the program for the toolbar. I can’t get it to show up. Is there something special I have to do with Vista?

  46. Sharon

    I agree with all the Mac users. seems of very little use to me since I use a Mac and I think I will cancel my subscription unless there is a definite plan to make this Mac usable in the next month or so.

  47. Sharon

    I have tried to download the toolbar via Firefox for my Mac and I get as far as the ‘agreement’ that I’m supposed to sign and it is completely blank except for the I accept this box. What gives. Also, regarding your response to #23, 29 and 31,whatever your ‘practical business’ reasons are for making all this Mac unfriendly, you should inform people upfront before we pay your steep fees for something that doesn’t work for us.

  48. Mary Ann Hays

    I’m hoping if I add my name to the lengthening list of disgruntled Mac users, you folks might start to take notice. It sounds like the decision not to support Mac or offer your FTM software in the Mac version is based in your not trying hard enough – are you folks and Mac not on speaking terms, mad at each other, don’t want to have business dealings with each other, squabbling over territory, stubbornness,etc? Obviously it’s not a tech problem, nor unwanted!!! Please be honest with us and not just keep us hanging out there. I, too, am considering making a change, out of pure frustration. Thanks for a real answer.

  49. Jeanne Baldwin

    I have been doing all my research work on Ancestry/web for the past few months. My considerable files on FTM have sat quietly (after I uploaded them to Ancestry.) How can I update FTM from Ancestry?
    Thank you.

  50. Rebecca Kay

    I followed the steps to add the Toolbar to my IE page, but it did not happen! Don’t know what I did wrong. Please help. Thanks

  51. Denise Mcintyre

    trying to download the toolbar but every time I click the download button this error comes up;
    Please excuse the invonvenience. Problem servicing your request. details have been automatically logged to our servers.

    How do I get around this so I can
    download this toolbar; I would really like to try it.

  52. Paul Browne

    I was excited to try this tool, but so far I cannot gain access to the download page. Kenny has been good to respond to my email, but there is still no download, no information about the problem, no toolbar.

  53. The toolbar is working great for me, but I’m using Firefox. 😉

    Love this thing! I’ve already started linking documents from the Alachua County (Florida)Ancient Records page to my ancestors! No more download the pic, upload the pic, add the source. Love it!

    IE users….I suggest you try Firefox…lighter, faster, more reliable. 🙂

  54. MarkLHopkins

    I’m encountering the same problem as #55.
    I would like to be able to import my database from PAF of over 17000 relatives to save time entering them all over again. I also can’t figure out how to merge 2 or more duplicate records.
    I guess I need the toolbar that won’t load. The advertised features for the tool-bar don’t mention imports and merges
    On the plus side, I have found some exciting answers in my 1st week of use.

  55. Kenny Freestone

    #36 – Hi Megan, try clicking the “View” tab in your browser, selecting toolbars, and from there you should see the Ancestry toolbar option to select.

    #41 – Hi Tina. Hmm. We’ll look into this.

    #43 – Sorry this did not work for you. Yes, we test this on real computers (hundreds of them). If you’ll send me info on your specific computer we can look into this further (email kfreestone at

    #46 – Does this happen on every web page? Please send me some additional details, perhaps including the URL for a page where this happens.

    #47 – We’ve tested this scenario and not found issues when using common firewall settings. We’ll try some more scenarios in our test lab.

    #48 – We’ll look into the toolbar on Vista some more. We’ve tested on Vista quite a bit, but it sounds like there are issues out there.

    #54 – see response to #36.

    #55, 57, and 59 – So sorry for this bug. It is now fixed.

    Thanks for your comments and feedback. It sounds like there are some issues to be fixed, and we’ll work hard to identify the cause of these issues. Please be as detailed and specific as you can when describing the bugs you see, and we’ll do our best to take care of them.


  56. Chris

    A good idea. However:

    The toolbar crashes my browser (IE7).

    When it does work (save), it is extremely slow.

    It does not work with Ancestry pages which severely restricts its usefulness.

  57. Debbie V.

    This sounds like a great idea and I am anxious to use it. However, I have one tree that I am currently working on that is Personal. Will non-friends be able to view my personal tree through these links?

  58. Nicole Wenzel

    I have the same question that Jeanne #53 had on November 19th. I do not see a response to that question. How can we update FTM from
    Thank you

  59. Jade

    Nicole #64,

    Your question is not related to the new web-take toolbar.

    Your question – how to more or less automatically update what’s on your home computer from the Trees on Ancestry – has been chewed over many times on message boards.

    Go here
    and in Ancestry Improvements and Ancestry Comments boards, search for “FTM”.

    You will find that there are ways to make big messes from Ancestry trees on your home computer setup, and you cannot export ‘records’ and photos from the Ancestry tree.

    Good hunting, Jade

  60. Michelle Petit-Sumrall

    Just for the record, running Firefox 3 on Windows. The toolbar flat out kept my Firefox from starting at all, I had to open FF in safe mode, disable all add-ons, and restart FF, THEN re-enable all the add-ons I usually have running. Too bad, might be a conflict with another add-on, I suppose, but I can’t not have a browser!

    Oh well…

  61. Kenny Freestone

    Hi Michael,

    The Ancestry Toolbar is not spyware. It may have been tagged as such because it is unfamiliar.


Comments are closed.